FHA appraisal rules cover a variety of aspects of the home. FHA appraisal requirements are found in HUD 40001., and include guidelines for electrical systems, plumbing, paint, and also requirements for the roof.
FHA appraisers perform a review of the property to make sure it meets minimum standards, but the appraisal is NOT a home inspection, a guarantee that a home is defect-free, etc. Borrowers should never rely on the FHA appraisal as a stamp of approval or anything similar to a home inspection. Your appraisal fee does not cover this inspection, but the inspection is an investment that could save you thousands of dollars later on.
When it comes to FHA appraisal rules for the roof, HUD 4000.1 begins on page 488, stating, “The Appraiser must notify the Mortgagee of the deficiency…if the roof covering does not prevent entrance of moisture or provide reasonable future utility, durability and economy of maintenance and does not have a remaining physical life of at least two years.”
FHA loan rules state that the appraiser is required to see the roof, but does not specifically have to step out onto the surface of the roof. “The Appraiser must observe the roof to determine whether there are deficiencies that present a health and safety hazard or do not allow for reasonable future utility. The Appraiser must identify the roofing material type and the condition observed in the ‘Improvements’ section of the report.”
Again, borrowers should take note that the above does NOT instruct the appraiser to step out onto the roof. A home inspection, paid for by the borrower, would include a closer look at the roof than what is required here by HUD 4000.1.
Page 489 adds the following:
“The Appraiser must report if the roof has less than two years of remaining life, and make the appraisal subject to inspection by a professional roofer. When the Appraiser is unable to view the roof, the Appraiser must explain why the roof is unobservable and report the results of the assessment of the underside of the roof, the attic, and the ceilings.”
As you can see, the appraisal is not meant to be a top-to-bottom inspection of the roof. The FHA official site has a section titled, For Your Protection Get A Home Inspection, which urges borrowers to pay for the optional procedure. The FHA official site also warns borrowers that there is no financial help from the FHA for those who opt not to get the inspection and later discover defects or other problems with their home after the FHA loan has closed.